Improving Translation Quality

Context is everything

A professional translator goes a step beyond just translating a text part by part. She will ensure that the context of your work is clearly understood before even attempting to interpret any of the language. Facilitate a strong outcome by providing the translation agency with relevant materials, including websites, annual reports, corporate communications, or any other material that provides stylistic and contextual clues, at the beginning of the translation engagement. In this way, the translator will be empowered to produce translations that successfully convey your crucial medical device instructions, legal contracts, or corporate branding messages to the target audience.

Express your preferences clearly

Translators need context because they don’t translate literally; source texts can be interpreted completely differently depending on a client’s objectives. Good translation conveys the meaning and tone of the original text, and sometimes this requires the translator to make creative choices in the target language. Among the key points the client should convey is whether translations may differ slightly in structure or tone from the source text in order to communicate better with the target audience. What about writing style? If the translator feels that the target audience may prefer a different style for cultural reasons, may she implement it?

Provide examples

In addition to addressing these specific points, if the client can present any exemplary past source language and translations, that is also helpful. In some cases, intellectual property and confidentiality issues may preclude the client from providing pre-existing materials. For this reason, we believe that building trust with our clients is paramount. This is something that goes beyond standard non-disclosure agreements and can only be achieved by nurturing a stable and long-standing relationship. Even in challenging cases, taking the time upfront to communicate objectives and preferences will result in a faster turnaround time and a successful translation outcome.


Emily Allen